Page images

valiant soldiers return to the pleasant pursuits of home life. Under such circumstances we ought to anticipate an agreeable and successful year's labor among the people. Yet, for various reasons, the coming year will be even more unfavorable than the past. The condition and position of our armies all portend some immediate action-some more general engagement than we have yet experienced. When it comes, be it upon the Potomac, in Western Virginia, Kentucky, or Missouri, Indiana will bleed from every school district, and hundreds of families will be mourning, and will not be comforted, because husbands and sons are not. He who is i soldier from Indiana, is the brother of every Indianian. Shonld the death blow fall heavily upon us, we must not expect that our obtrusion among the people at such a time, would meet a cheerful or cordial reception. We govern ourselves by circumstances, and the present is so pregnant with great events that the plans we lay down, or the appointments we make, may or may not be carried out or filled. Even while we write, the telegraph tells us that in Western Virginia a battle has been fought, and thirty homes are made desolate in Indiana, by the death of as many noble patriots. From across the ocean the clouds lower, and ere many weeks another storin may burst upon us, rendering necessary a still greater abandonment of the pursuits of peace.

Again, my predecessors have all experienced the misfortune resulting from the fact that the office they filled had ever, in our State, been regarded as political. Yet reflection on the part of the people would convince them that in no way should the Superintendent be regarded as the representative of a party. He is essentially the representative of the people in their most important interestthe education of their children.

The law requires the Superintendent to visit every county in the State, and constantly to lecture publicly on education. Now, our people have long since come to think, that, when a State officer appears in public to speak, he is acting in the capacity of a partizan, advocating party issues. The Superintendent is thus trammeled and hampered; his influence and advice being selt by only a part of the community, whereas all should cordially receive him. This is not the feeling of one party simply, but of all parties. Though but little difficulty has thus far been experienced, by the present incumbent, he does look forward with apprehension to the coming year, when party candidates will be in the field. However honest may be his efforts, however earnestly he may devote himself to the


work required of him by the Legislature, he apprehends that he will be misunderstood, and to a degree unsuccessful in his labors. How important is it, then, that this office should be wholly separate from politics. Our school system will ever be comparatively a failure, till all parties shall unite on one man, whose ability as an educator will command the respect and support of all. May we not hope that some concert of action may be devised by inen who, though of different political faith, can yet see the evil that has arisen from our former course, and who desire that the popular educator shall not become the popular politician. We have spoken plainly of these things, with no false delicacy, believing that the people of this State know us well enough to understand that we are in no wise selfish in this matter. We have ever felt the deepest interest in the success of our Public Schools, and, having occupied the position of Superintendent thus long, we feel it our duty to present for remedy all of those defects which have impaired its progress and development. It matters not to what party the man belongs, so he be a thorough educator, heart and hand in the work. It is not an office of emolument, but one of sacrifice of both money and domestic comfort. Hence, as only being deeply interested in the redemption of Indiana educationally, we earnestly entreat the citizens of our State forever to banish the politician from the office of Superintendent.

The practical working of the law has already deinonstrated that there are many defects to be remedied. They, however, need not be presented now to your Excellency. When we make our biennial report to the Legislature, we shall give our views at length upon the needed changes.


It will be impossible, at this time, to give the increase of the school revenue for the past year, as required by law. . The new law took effect on the 19th of March. The County Commissioners, , from whom we derive the information of the increase of the funds, do not report to us until their March session.

Number of Children, at the Enumeration of 1861.

Number of males
Number of females.

270,073 249,118

Whole number.


Number of children attending the public schools,

during the year 1861... Number attending private schools. .

337,690 18,270


Number attending schools of all kinds, during the year
Number of children in the State not attending school

of any kind during the year....


$555,196 83

Amount of school revenue for tuition, collected and

ready for apportionment in April, 1861.... Amount collected and ready for apportiominent in

October, 1861..

106,182 91

Total during the year.. .

$661,379 74

Amount apportioned in April... $553,577 76
Amount apportioned in October. 102,890 20

Amount apportioned during the year

$656,467 96

Balance in State Treasury.

$4,911 78

Amount of Congressional Township revenue collected

during the year..

$168,175 15

Total revenue for tuition available for the year..... $824,613 11

The Spring apportionment was.
The Fall apportionment was.

$1 08 to ihe child.

20 do. do.

Whole amount per child....

$1 28

This is common school revenue. The Congressional Township revenue, though reported to this office, is not controlled by us. The Congressional Township revenue of 1861 is $168,175 15, which, added to the common school revenue, gives us a total of $1 60 per child.

We give the enumeration of 1861. The two apportionments were made on the enumeration of 1860.

There is now due the school revenue from the State, $350,000. This amount was an unapportioned accumulation of said revenue,

[ocr errors]

which was drawn from the State Treasury and “ used for other purposes,” prior to the year 1861. The Legislature, at the last session, made arrangements to repay it, at the rate of $50,000 year, commencing in April, 1862.

It may seem that the number of children who did not attend school during the year, is remarkably large. But if we remember that the enumeration includes all single persons between the ages of five and twenty-one years, that many of these are already in the active pursuits of life; that many parents, convinced of the evil of sending children to school at the tender age of five years, have abandoned it, and that near one-fourth of our schools have not been open during the year, we shall see that the number is as small as could reasonably be expected.

We have only given such items of statistics as this brief report will admit of, and as are required by law. In our biennial report to the Legislature, we shall present all the information gathered from the County Examiners, and suggest at length our views of the legislation needed to perfect our school system.


Superintendent of Public Instruction.

« PreviousContinue »